Skip to main content

Full text of "Was Abraham Lincoln a spiritualist? : or, Curious revelations from the life of a trance medium [excerpts]"

See other formats











"After all, it is the old old story. 
Truth is stranger than Fiction." 










N. C. M. 


It is the old, old story, " Truth is stranger than fiction, and life is, 
after all, a mystery." 

That history which is most strange is most true. To-day is 
the day of -wonders, and the last decade has been more strange 
than any preceding one. Abraham Lincoln was the most promi- 
nent President that America has known ; his actions, official 
and unoflicial, have been, for thirty years, the constant theme 
of biographers and historians, and the fondness of Americans 
for him is as warm and widespread to-day as though he had 
died but yesterday. 

The statements contained in this vokime regarding him are 
given to the public for the reason that they are not less true 
than surprising; and being so, they must see the light. Praise 
from some quarters is natural ; censure from others is to be 
expected. Nevertheless, what is here written is truth, fact, his- 
tory, and what is more, no man should question them. Should 
he do so, the field for adequate investigation is quite accessible. 
The contents of this book will be seen to be remarkable for 
three qualities : character of subject, historical importance, 
simplicity of statement. Accordingly, a few words upon each 
of these heads may not prove inappropriate or unlnstructive. 

The separation of the spiritual from the physical life of man, 



and their reunion or return has, at every period in his history 
excited profound wonder and interest. If he accepts Biblical 
history as final judgnaent upon the matter, his mind for a time 
comprehends an assured future life, and he finds a calm happi- 
ness in that belief. So long as he rests content in that belief, 
and accepts as truth all Biblical statements, he finds little motive 
for investigation. If he is truly intelligent, the hour arrives 
when he craves absolute proof of a future condition ; or, if he 
wishes to answer what the prophet of old has left to follow man 
as a spectre through all the ages, and to remain with him from 
the first to the last hour of conscious understanding, he must 
investigate : " If a man die, shall he live again ?" Therefore, 
not only does the question, in its vital importance and scope, 
make all men pause to consider it cautiously and honestly, but 
it has a, personal value for each investigator. 

Spencer, Huxley, Darwin, Tyndall, Ingersoll, and other 
leading minds state that there is no return of the spirit after 
death, and that man, having ceased to breathe, bears precisely 
the same relation to the physical world as does vegetable matter, 
which lives, decays, or dies, and returns from whence it came — 
to inanimate matter, to clay. Human and brute life offer but 
little refutation of this theory. Insect and bird life indicate its 
possibility by exhibiting a positive change from the inanimate 
to the animate. Human reason, therefore, may logically set up 
the hypothesis, that if life can come from no life, and life dis- 
appear from life, presumption is strong that life still exists in 
some form, and that there is a mode of communication between 
the varied forms, but all persons do not comprehend that mode, or 
even know of it, and the fact that there is any such communica- 
tion. We, therefore, have left open for our consideration and 
judgment, our acceptance or rejection, this subject as the 
prophet saw fit to leave it when it became necessary to prepare 
for his departure from this life. 


A new impetus will be given to Spiritualism by this work, 
for the reason that it is not written from a standpoint of bias, 
and is neither more nor less than a statement of facts, which are 
a part of the experiences of the authoress, who, to say the 
least, has had a very remarkable life, and who observes a tem- 
perateness and reverence in statement, which must commend 
her and her work to all who are fortunate enough to read this 
unique volume. 

Mr. Gladstone wrote so lately as September 16th, in replying 
to a person who inquired whether the discussion of Theosophy 
ought to be permitted in workmen's clubs where lectures and 
debates on religious subjects are tabooed, and whether such dis- 
cussion was likely to benefit workmen: "/ shall not adopt 
lanfjuage of delermined disbelief in all manifestations, real or 
supposed, from the other icorld. They give me little satisfac- 
tion, but that does not warrant meeting themicith a blank nega- 
tive." He thus indicates that he feels an interest in the sub- 
ject, and, like thousands of others, seeks its truth. 

It is to be hoped that through the aid of this book, some such 
master mind as that of Robert J. IngersoU will give the matter 
special attention, and follow out the thought to a point where 
positive accurate information will yield its intelligence to the 
toorld, and not to those only ivho profess Spiritualism. 

The Rev. Dr. Savage, of Boston, when being criticised for 
his attention to Spiritualism, replied: "If a Christian minis- 
ter, preaching God's word, has no right to consider Spiritualism 
and its phenomena, pray who, and what manner of man, does 
possess that right, and who should, beyond peradventure, know 
its truth or falsity, that is, whether the spirit does return after 
death, and, if so, under what conditions and for what purposes f" 

A recent investigating commission, commenting upon the sub- 
ject of Spiritualism, remarks : " It is no small matter to be 
able to record any progress in a subject of so wide and deep an 


interest as the present. It is not too much to say that the fur- 
ther our investigations extend, the more imperative appears the 
demand for those investigations. The belief in so-called Spirit- 
ualism is certainly not decreasing. It has, from the first, as- 
sumed a religious tone, and now claims to be ranked among the 
denominational faiths of the day. From the outset, we have 
been deeply impressed with the seriousness of the undertaking, 
and have fully recognized that men, eminent in intelligence and 
attainments, yield to Spiritualism an entire credence, and who 
can fail to stand aside in tender reverence, when crushed and 
bleeding hearts are known to seek it for consolation and for 
hope ? We beg that nothing stated m^y be interpreted as in- 
dicating indifference or levity. Wherever fraud in Spiritualism 
is found, that it is, and not whatever of truth there may be 
within, which is denounced, and all Spiritualists who love the 
truth ivill fully agree taiih us.'* 

It is well known that from time to time stray notices on the 
subject of Lincoln and Spiritualism have appeared in various 
papers, not, however, in connection with any attempt on tiie 
part of the writers or editors to 'verify the same. For this 
reason we deemed it wise, before entering' into this matter ex- 
tensively, to examine the subject with deliberation and care. 
The fruits of this examination have placed upon record infor- 
mation of a remarkable character, which will have a marked 
bearing upon the history of Spiritualism and upon the 
literature of the day. That Abraham Lincoln should 
have been a believer in, or follower of, Spiritualism, in 
any form, will be an unusual statement, and to use the 
words of an editorial writer of a leading New York daily : 
" If It can be proven that Abraham Lincoln was in any way 
connected with Spiritualism, or did take counsel from any 
medium at a time when the nation's weal or woe hung in the 
balance, or was in any manner governed by such counsel, it 


v:ould be the literary event of the nineteenth century, and the 
most astonishing statement of modern times." In February of 
tliis 3"ear, the writer had the good fortune to meet a gentleman 
■who related that he knew from personal experience and con- 
tact, that Abraham Lincoln was a Spiritualist, and implicitly 
believed in the guidance and teachings of that science or re- 
ligion, whichever it may be. He further stated that he attended 
a stance where the President with several other persons had sat 
upon a piano, and that the instrument had been bodily lifted 
from the floor by means of spirit power, while the President 
and his friends remained seated upon it I He further stated 
that he knew from personal knowledge that the President had 
been instructed and guided by spirits in times of particular 
stress in affairs of state, and that at a period when the nation's 
future was uncertain, and while the States were in the midst 
of the throes of a great civil war. He also stated that he knew 
of his own personal knowledge and experience, that numerous 
Spiritualistic stances were held in the White House, and that 
they were frequented by many of the leading men of the time, 
who were then located in Washington. 

This gentleman's statement, being of such peculiar signifi- 
cance, the tvriter did not believe it. This recitation, however, 
caused the writer to become greatly interested in the subject 
from a purely historical standpoint, and, therefore, he immedi- 
ately started an investigation regarding the matter, the results 
of which he is now obliged to state, reveal to the world, matters 
of decided interest and importance, and which, as far as they 
are related in this volume, are capable of proof, and based upon 
circumstances of fact. 

The writer incidentally learned that Mrs. N. C. Maynard, of 
White Plains, New York, had resided in Washington during 
several years of the War of the Rebellion, and had upon numer- 
ous occasions given sittings for the President of the United 


States, his wife, and friends who were present by invitation, 
and that she was preparing a record of these experiences, to- 
gether with other incidents connected with an eventful life, for 
publication in book form. He suggested that as many of the 
statements therein were of a personal and unusual nature, re- 
vealing habits of character in many persons who were prominent 
before the nation, it might be well to have the accounts of cir- 
cumstances verijied as described, and affidavits secured from the 
persons who must necessarily constitute her witnesses, as to the 
truthfulness of her narrative, especially such persons as were 
living to-day, and who were connected with the subject in any 
manner, and who would he willing to come forth and testify ; 
to wliich suggestion she readily assented. Immediately there- 
after investigation was commenced by the writer. The initia- 
tory movement was to ascertain from those who resided in the 
neighborhood of her home, or thereabouts, the character and 
standing of Mrs. N. C. Maynard. He was informed by those 
who had known the family for a lengthy period, that her hus- 
band had been a resident of White Plains for twenty-five years, 
was cordially indorsed by many of the leading residents, was 
trustworthy and honorable, and had been doing business during 
all of that period in that village, and that he was a man noted 
for truthfulness, honesty, and general integrity of character. 
The family physician stated that he knew Mrs. Maynard and 
had attended her for about fifteen years ; that she is now a 
hopeless invalid, has been confined to her bed for nearly three 
years, and cannot possibly recocer ; that during his experiences 
and contact with her, he has always found her to bean exem- 
plary woman, but possessed of a peculiar organism and sensi- 
tiveness of condition, and likewise of some peculiar power or 
magnetism, which, to say the least, was unexplainable, and that 
nothing within the science of medicine could clearly explain 
her "psychic" condition, or briefly, in common-place words : 


*' We confess there is something about Mrs. Maynanl that we 
do not understand ; we, however, believe her to be a thorough 
Christian woman of irreproachable character and antecedents." 

Hon. Melville C. Smith, of New York City, a well-known 
and responsible gentleman, informed the writer that he had 
known Mrs. Maynard for more than thirty years, and placed 
full confidence in her integrity of character, and of his own 
knowledge found her to be a very remarkable woman and pos- 
sessed of a peculiar "psychic" condition, which permitted her 
to see and foresee and comprehend that which could not be 
understood by ordinary people. 

Mark M. ("Brick") Pomeroy, the well-known lawyer and 
writer, unhesitatingly indorses Mrs. Maynard and states, "You 
may say for me, Mrs. Maynard is one of the most remarkable 
mediums to be found within the lines of Spiritualism. I have 
known her for many years, she Is a woman against whom not 
one word of reproach may he truthfully uttered, and I believe 
the truth of her statements." 

Francis B. Carpenter, the distinguished artist, and the painter 
of the "Emancipation Proclamation," which is in the Capitol 
at Washington, who is also the author of the " Inner Life of 
Abraham Lincoln," and the painter and possessor of the last 
portrait in oil of Lincoln, a copy of which is In the frontispiece 
of this volume, states: "I have known Mrs. Maynard for 
some years. She is a talented woman ; I do not believe she 
would tell an untruth ; she is a medium of remarkable ability. 
I know that Mr. Herndon knew Mr. Lincoln better than any 
other man, up to the time of his election in 1861 ; after his elec- 
tion Mr. Herndon knew but little of him, and absolutely nothing 
of his mental or spiritual condition before the sickness of his son 
Willie, nor after Willie's death, and I must say that Mr. Lin- 
coln's mind underwent a vast change after that event. Just 
what Mr. Lincoln's religious views were, I do not know, but it 


is a fact that he was known to pray, and his condition was much 
more in accordance with the statement found in ' The Inner 
Life of Abraham Lincoln' than that stated by other biogra- 
phers, and you may quote me, that Herndon's statements have 
neither weight nor value, after the connection between the two 
men ceased. I am not prepared to state that Mr. Lincoln was 
a Spiritualist. I do know that he had faith in spiritual comfort 
and believed that we icere, in a measure, directed by spiritual 
teachers and guidance.^' 

Mrs. Daniel E. Somes, of Washington, wife of the late Hon. 
Daniel E. Somes, Representative from Maine, in the Thirty- 
sixth Congress, informs the writer that she attended stances at 
the White House during the war when Miss Colburn (Maynard) 
was the medium there, and upon one occasion met Major-Gene- 
ral Daniel Sickles, and that the circumstances recorded as to 
that siance are fully described in this volume. This statement 
she fully and completely indorses ; and further adds that her 
husbapd was closely and intimately connected with President 
Lincoln, and had repeatedly informed her of interesting and 
remarkable incidents which occurred at the White House at 
stances as herein described and mentioned. She also states 
that she knows Miss Colburn did not give stances in the White 
House for money. The standing of Hon. D. E. Somes is fully 
set forth in the following obituary notice taken from the Wash- 
ington 'National Republican,' February 2, 1888 : — 



In the death of Hon. Daniel E. Somes, formerly a member of 
Congress from Maine, liut for the last twenty-flve years a resident 
of this city, a distiuguislied and useful career is euded, and the coni- 
muuity loses a most worthy and honorable citizen. 

Mr. Soioes was born at Meredith, now Laionia, N. H., May 20, 
181.5. He received an academic education, and was married iu early 
lile to Miss Laura Chase, of his native place, who survives him. 


In 1846 he moved to Biddeford, Me., where he became largely 
interested in various business enterprises, and was very prominent 
in the temperance and anti-slavery movements of the time. He 
established in Biddeford the 'Eastern Journal,' now the 'Union 
and Journal,' newspaper. He was the first mayor of Biddeford, and 
was several times re-elected. In that position he was active in execut- 
ing the " Maine law," which was the first prohibition law passed 
in the United States, and under his administration at least proved 
successful. He organized the City Bank of Biddeford in 1856, and 
was for several years its president. 

He had manufacturing establishments in Saco, Biddeford, and 
Lewistown, Me., and a business establishment in Boston. 

He was always active in public affairs during early life, and was 
one of the original organizers of the Republican party, and was a 
strong supporter of Fremont and Dayton in 1856. 

In 1858 he was elected to the Tliirty-sixth Congress from the dis- 
trict now represented by Hon. Thomas B. Reed. He was known as 
a radical Republican and strongly expressed his views to the coun- 
try ; notably in a patriotic speech delivered by him in the House of 
Representatives Feb. 16, 1861. 

During the war he was a friend and confidant of President Lin- 
coln, who often sent for him, sometimes late at night, to come to 
the Executive Mansion to confer on matters of public importance. 

He was closely associated with Hannibal Hamlin, Horace Greeley, 
John P. Hale, Henry Wilson, and other leading men of the earlier 
Republican party. 

Although pronounced in his Republican views, he was of a gentle 
and pacific disposition and of moderate temper, from which facts he 
was chosen a member of the "Peace Congress" of 1861, which 
proved so unequal to stemming the tide of war feeling that swept 
over every obstacle in that turbulent time. 

In 1862 Mr. Somes settled in Washington, and for several years 
was a prominent practitioner before the patent office. He also 
turned his attention to inventing and took out over sixty patents, 
many of them relative to the general subject of refrigeration and 
ventilation. As an inventor he showed great originality and versa- 
tility. More than twenty-five years ago he proposed the system of 
transporting fresh beef in refrigerator cars and suitable means for 
accomplishing it ; but, as in the case of many inventors, he was too 
early for his time and failed to reap the benefits of his invention, 
which is now in quite extensive use throughout the country by 
other people. 

Mr. Somes had an extremely hopeful and genial nature. He was 
a most tender and kind-hearted husband and father. In fact he 
had the gentleness of a woman, combined with marked manly 
strength and vigor, and was always a model gentleman in his 
manners, and the soul of honor in his dealings and intercourse with 
his fellowmen. 


For several weeks past Mr. Somes has been ill with a severe cold, 
■which on last Friday morning became agg:ravated and assumed the 
symptoms of congestion of the lungs. This malady was followed 
on Saturday morning by paralysis of his right side. Most of the 
time after that he was insensible, gradually sinking until his death, 
which occurred on Monday, the 13th of February, at 10.15 P. M. 

He had four sons, two of whom died in youth. Only one son 
survives, Mr. F. C. Somes, a prominent patent attorney of this city. 
Mr. Byron Somes, a younger son, who was night editor of the Bos- 
ton ' Globe,' and a young man of much promise, died about one year 

Mrs. E. 1). E. N. Southworth, a well-known authoress, who 
now resides at Prospect Cottage, Georgetown, freely and cheer- 
fully corroborates the account herein mentioned in this book of 
a circle held at her house, and, in a letter to the publisher, 
states: "I am glad that in the inextricable mazes of this 
world's wilderness, I have, through you, found a trace of Nettie 

Colburn (Maynard) Please give my love to Mrs. 

Maynard, and tell her I have a perfect memory of that evening 
of which she gives so warm a picture." 

Col. Simon P. Kase, of Philadelphia, states that he was pres- 
ent at a stance with Mr. Lincoln, and that he, with several 
other gentlemen, the President included, sat upon the piano, 
while it ivas lifted bodily from the floor by spirit power, and 
that Mr. Lincoln was not only interested in this physical phe- 
nomenon, but was also intensely interested in the statements 
which the medium made to President Lincoln while in a trance 

Mrs. Elvira M. Depuy, of Washington, stated to the writer : 
" My husband was a visitor to stances where Mr. Lincoln was 
present, and he has told me of many interesting occurrences 

which happened thereat In the winter of 1862-3 

I attended a stance at Mrs. Laurie's, at Georgetown, where 
Mrs. Lincoln was present. She was accompanied by Mr. New- 
ton, Commissioner of Agriculture. At this stance remarkable 
statements "were made by Miss Colburn (Maynard) which sur- 


prised Mrs. Lincoln to such a degree that she asked that a 

seance might be given to Mr. Lincoln I have 

always known from my husband and others that Mr. Lincoln 
attended circles and stances, and was greatly interested in 

Mrs. Parthenia Colburn, whose name finds place in this 
volume, now resides at White Plains ; she was with Mrs. May- 
nard (Miss Colburn) during 1862-3-4-5, and frequently visited 
the White House with Miss Colburn (Maynard) when Hon. 
Daniel E. Somes and others were present, and she has filed 
with the publisher an affidavit made before the county clerk of 
the county of West Chester, N. Y., wherein she solemnly avers 
that the statements regarding her, found in this book, are true 
and fact in each and every particular. A similar affidavit is 
on file with the publisher made by Mrs. Nettie Colburn May- 
nard, the writer of this book, taken by the county clerk of the 
county of West Chester, at her bedside, and attested by him in 
regular legal form. 

In addition to the persons above named, the publisher wishes 
to tender thanks for courtesies and aid extended him, while 
seeking information regarding this subject, to F. C. Somes, 
Esq., George A. Bacon, Esq., Alfred Horton, Esq., all of Wash- 
ington, D. C. ; Gen'l Daniel E. Sickles, Henry J. Newton, 
Esq., and Charles J. Quinby, Esq., of New York; Frank L. 
Burr, Esq., of the 'Hartford Times,' and B. B. Hill, Esq., of 
Philadelphia ; each of whom has rendered him service and in- 
formation regarding this volume of reminiscences. The pub- 
lisher wishes it distinctly understood that the statements con- 
tained in this book are free from all bias or interest from any 
cause or purpose other than as an historical picture of the con- 
ditions and influences which were connected with, and had 
bearing upon, those turbulent times, which are known as "the 
War Years of the Rebellion." He trusts that nothing in these 


prefatory remarks will be construed in any way to indicate an 
opinion, either for or against Spiritualism, and a decision 
whether Abraham Lincoln was, or was not a Spiritualist, must 
be reached as a conclusion, through and by the judgment of the 
individual reader, who will find this work of special and con- 
tinuous interest, and, therefore, as the title is suggestive, and 
the information which the book conveys is extraordinary^ it is 
perhaps pertinent to ask the question, as given in the title — 

"Was Abraham Lincoln a Spiritualist?" 





Early Memoktes. Peculiar stair-way noises— The clock strikes 
—Grandmother dies — The clock again warns us— Grandmother 
calls from the Spirit world— My father hears strokes on the 
house side— Grandfather dies 7 


The Mystert Deepens. Strange phenomena — Spirit rapping 
— My gift of mediumship discovered — My father's discovery — 
Asa Rogers — Buchanan's election — Written communications 
come through my mediumship 13 


Further Developments. I meet Ex-Gov. Seymour of Conn. 
— Am kindly welcomed everywhere — Speak at Pequannock, 
Conn. — My friend Flavia Howe — Go to Windsor and Ware- 
house Point — My public career is inaugurated . . .21 


A Strange Adventure. Receive a call to speak in Albany — 
Mr. M. wants my friend to be the "Princess" of his city of a 
thousand wives — We have an adventure in which the spirits 
aid us — We leave hurriedly 28 





Spiritualism and War. The first call for 75,000 men— The 
advice from the spirit world and my disobedience— I go to 
Washington to get a furlough for my brother— Success and 
loss — Meet prominent people — Go to the camp — Dr. Curtis, 
Secretary Tucker, and other prominent men are met — Have 
important work to do— Hold s&ances—?e.r order of Secretary 
of War— DeKalb's desire to thwart my efforts— Meet Mr. 
Betts, of Albany— Success and failure— Appended letters, 
etc 34 


Gladness and Sadness. Mrs. Belle Miller as a medium — 
Captain DeKalb temporarily succeeds — I go to General 
Townsend's oflBce — Issued by "special order of the War 
Department" — I fail to get brother's back pay — Brother 
and I drive " to camp" — We meet father at camp — We 
hold the first "sitting" on Virginia soil — Brother loses his 
pass — Our friends sympathize with us . . . . .54 


First Meeting with Lincoln. Secretary Foster takes us to 
Mr. Laurie's house in Mrs. Lincoln's carriage — Mrs. Lincoln 
promises to obtain another furlough for my brother — I go 
into a trance — " This young lady must not leave Washington ; 
Mr. Lincoln must hear her" — Am promised a place under 
Mr. Newton — Am promised another furlough — A thirty-day 
furlough is granted — A present of a hundred dollars — I ar- 
range to stay in Washington — We are invited to the White 
House, where we hold a aiance that is of historical importance 
— " So this is our little Nettie" — President Lincoln is advised 
upon the Emancipation Proclamation that it is to be the 
crowning effort of his administration and his life — The Presi- 
dent states that pressure was being brought to bear upon 



him to suppress the enforcement of the proclamation — " My 
child, you possess a wonderful gift, but that it is of God I 
have no doubt'*— Notes 6i 


We Make History. We enter the Interior Department— Form 
the acquaintance of Mrs. Anna M. Cosby— Meet Geo. D. Pren- 
tice and many prominent people— Frequently visit the White 
House — We hold a siarice at Laurie's, the President attending 
— "Bonnie Doon"— Mrs. Miller causes the piano to dance — 
The scene at the front depicted— The President advised by 
" Dr. Bamford" to go to the Army of the Potomac and talk 
■with the soldiery—" The simplest remedies the best" — The 
President grants a furlough to A. L. Gurney— The President 
speaks his views upon spiritualistic communications — Ad- 
vised not to make the siances public information— Mrs. Miller 
DQOves the piano while the President sits upon it — Notes , 79 


Perilous Times. I make a strange error— The President visits 
the Army of the Potomac at the instigation of the spirits — 
Mrs. Lincoln is distracted and we comfort her — A sitting 
while the battle of Chancellorsville goes on and the result 
foretold— We depart with an armful of flowers— Visit to the 
Mount Pleasant Hospital, where father greets us . . ,95 


The Wounded and Dying. After the battles of Chancellors- 
ville and Fredericksburg— We go to the hospital and aid the 
wounded — Scenes of horror among the " brave boys in blue" 
—While riding home we see the President lift his hat to a 
crippled soldier boy— Lincoln always ready to serve the 
humble jq3 




Continued Sekvices. The " Thirtieth New York" passes 
through Washington — The poem of reception — I am called 
home — Colonel Chrysler requests us to return to Washington 
to do him a service — We meet Joshua Speed at Cosby's — The 
story of Mr. Cosby's dismissal — A visit to the President and 
unpleasant remembrances—" We are Coming, Father Abra- 
ham, Three Hundred Strong"— Mr. Lincoln explains the 
dilemmas of war — Our point is gained and we call on Sec- 
retary Stanton— A politic reply, and its result— Colonel 
Chrysler's Brigade made happy Ill 


Making Progress. A crazy lecturer — Mr. Somes inaugurates 
the first Washington lecture — Spiritualism a comforting be- 
lief 124 


Spiritual Advice. We pay a visit to the White House — 
General Sickels attends the seance — The terrible condition 
of the freedmen around Washington — Establishing the 
"Freedmen's Bureau" suggested by the spirits — Recalling 
the pleasant scene 128 


A Strange Incident. I return home— A commission ap- 
pointed to investigate the freedmen's condition — I return to 
Washington— Our friend General William Norris— " Why, 
Daniel, what is the matter?"— The telegram and "Who 
killed Cock Robin?"— Mr. Somes has a strange meeting— A 
matter of life or death— The President reprieves the sentinel 
— Janvier's poem of the " Sleeping Sentinel" . . . 134 




New ACQTTAINTA.NCE8. We spend an evening with Col. Forney 
—Mrs. Cosby takes us to " Prospect Cottage," the home of 
Mrs. Southworth— We fall in love with her daughter—" What 
impressions do you receive ?"— Mrs. Southworth recites a / 
strange experience— " You shall have my picture," she said ' 
— SSances with Mrs. Lincoln by appointment .... 144 


We Lose a Friend. Mr. Lincoln and "Abraham Laudamus" 
— Rev. Byron Sunderland's desire to witness a siance — He 
sends Mrs. Cosby a letter— I lecture in the Columbia Com- 
pany's Hall—" Thy coming, 'tis as steals the morn"- Mrs. 
Cosby's death, and notices of same— I write a presentation 
address 154 


A Test SSance. We are requested to attend a private siance 
at the White House— The President asks me to demonstrate 
my " rare gift," as he called it— The two soldiers present in , 
citizen's dress— " Perfectly satisfactory," said Mr. Lincoln; 
" Miss Nettie does not require eyes to do anything"— Tracing 
lines upon the map— I do not hear the import of the siance— 
Those were not days for trifling— An account of a witty ap- 
plication of a part of Knox's poem, " Why Should the Spirit 
of Mortal be Proud?"— The complete poem . . . .163 


Until My Work is Done. I go home for a time — The meet- 
ings at Great Harrington and some old campaign recollec- 
tions — I address the audience — We return again to Wash- 
ington—Major Chorpenniug and their home — I meet many 
well-known people there — I receive dispatch from home — 



We go to the White House — "I didn't catch her, did I?" — 
" I don't think the knife is made or the bullet run that will 
reach me" — Never again did we meet his welcome smile . 173 


The Man Lincoln. A Personal Description of President 
Abraham Lincoln and his Peculiarities .... 183 


A Comical Stance. A visit from two sable contemporaries — 
The lost money and its return — Who can say that Spiritualism 
is not of Divine origin ? 198 


Peculiar History. We go to Washington to attend the great 
InaTiguration ball — Meet at Chorpenning's — General Banks 
calls — General Longstreet has his fortune told — " Twice did 
I tender my sword, and twice was it refused" — A remarkable 
statement — You have my blessing 201 

CONCLUSION" . . 206 






Secretary Foster takes us to Mr. Laurie's house in Mrs. Lin- 
coln's carriage — Mrs. Lincoln promises to obtain another 
furlough for my brother — I go into a trance — " This young 
lady must not leave Washington ; Mr. Lincoln must hear 
her" — Am promised a place under Mr. Newton — Am 
promised another furlough — A thirty day furlough is 
granted — A present of a hundred dollars — I arrange to 
stay in Washington — We are invited to the White House, 
where we hold a siance that is of historical importance — 
*'So this is our little Nettie" — President Lincoln is ad- 
vised upon the Emancipation Proclamation, that it is to be 
the crowning effort of his administration and his life — 
The President states that pressure was being brought to 
bear upon him to suppress the enforcement of the procla- 
mation — "My child, you possess a 'wonderful gift, but 
that it is of God I have no doubt." — Notes. 

ABOUT half past eight o'clock of the evening of 
this day I was lying exhausted on the sofa, 
when a carriage halted at the door. Mr. Laurie en- 
tered hurriedly, asking if the " children" had gone 
(Parnie and myself). Mr. Foster explained that we 
were still there, and the reason therefor. Mr. Laurie 
seemed delighted that we had been delayed ; and came 
at once to my side, and kindly said, " Get ready at 
once and go to my house with me, and I think we can 


remedy the loss of this furlough." It was a ray of 
light in dense darkness. Without saying a word, I 
hastily prepared myself and was surprised to find a 
most elegant carriage at the door to receive us. Its 
crimson satin cushions should have told me whose car- 
riage it was ; but my mind was so fraught with my 
trouble that I barely noticed the fact that a footman 
in plain livery opened the door for us, and we were 
soon on our way to Georgetown. On my arrival I 
was astonished to be presented first to Mrs. Lincoln,* 

* At this time Mrs. Lincoln* was a prepossessing-looking 
woman, apparently about thirty years of age, possibly older, 
■with an abundance of rich dark-brown hair, large and impres- 
sive eyes, so shifting that their color was almost undecided, 
their brightness giving a peculiar animation to her countenance. 
Her face was oval, the features excellent, complexion white 
and fair, teeth regular, and her smile winning and kindl3^ 
She was somewhat over medium height, with full, rounded 
form, and under any circumstances would be pronounced a 
handsome woman. In m.anner she was occasionally quick and 
excitable, and would, while under excitement or adverse cir- 
cumstances, completely give way to her feelings. In short, she 
was lacking in the general control, demeanor, and suavity of 
manner which we naturally expect from one in high and 
exalted position. She was ever kind and gracious to me ; yet I 
could never feel for her that perfect respect and reverence that 
I desired to entertain regarding the chief lady of the land. 

* It is generally known that Mrs. Lincoln was a Kentuckian, and 
of Southern proclivities, although always loyal to the cause espoused 
by the President. 



the wife of President Lincoln, then to Mr. Newton, 
Secretary of the Interior Department, and the Rev. 
John Pierpont,* at that time one of the chief clerks in 
the Treasury building. The Hon. D. E. Somes was 
also present. Mrs. Lincoln informed me that she had 
heard of the wonderful powers of Mrs. Miller, Mr. Lau- 
rie's daughter, and had called to witness the physical 
manifestations through her raediumship. He had ex- 
pressed a desire to see a trance medium, when they 
had told her of myself, fearing that I was already on 
my way to Baltimore with my brother, as I expected to 
Iea*ve that evening. She had said at once, " Perhaps 
they have not gone ; suppose you take the carriage 
and ascertain." Mr. Laurie went, and found me, as I 

* Rev. John Pierpont was a tall, slender man, straight and 
commanding in appearance, and over eighty years of age, with 
the quick step and alert manner of a boy. He was an uncom- 
promising temperance advocate, and attributed his great age, 
excellent sight and hearing, and general good health to this 
virtue. He had been a Unitarian (?) minister for many years, 
from which denomination he resigned his pastorate to embrace 
the truths of Spiritualism. He was a poet and writer of recog- 
nized ability, a scholarly, refined gentleman, respected by all 
who knew him, and at the time mentioned was in possession of 
a valuable post in the Treasury Department. He had the 
absolute confidence of Mr. and Mrs. Lincoln, and I often met 
him in the company of Mrs. Lincoln. In brief, he was just 
the sort of man to cement a lasting friendship with the Presi- 


masculine spirit force was giving speech to almost 
divine commands. 

I shall never forget the scene around me when I 
regained consciousness. I was standing in front of 
Mr. Lincoln, and he was sitting back in his chair, 
with his arms folded upon his breast, looking intently 
at me. I stepped back, naturally confused at the 
situation — not remembering at once where I was ; and 
glancing around the group, where perfect silence 
reigned. It took me a moment to remember my where- 

A gentleman present then said in a low tone, " Mr. 
President, did you notice anything peculiar in the 
method of address ?" Mr. Lincoln raised himself, as 
if shaking off his spell. He glanced quickly at the full- 
length portrait of Daniel Webster, that hung above 
the piano, and replied, " Yes, and it is very singular, 
very !" with a marked emphasis. 

Mr. Somes said : " Mr. President, would it be im- 
proper for me to inquire whether there has been any 
pressure brought to bear upon you to defer the enforce- 
ment of the Proclamation ?" To which the President 
replied : " Under these circumstances that question is 
perfectly proper, as we are all friends [smiling upon 
the company]. It is taking all my nerve and strength 
to withstand such a pressure.^^ At this point the 
gentlemen drew around him, and spoke together in 
low tones, Mr. Lincoln saying least of all. At last 


he turned to me, and laying his hand upon my head, 
uttered these words in a manner that I shall never 
forget : " My child, you possess a very singular gift ; 
but that it is of God, I have no doubt. I thank you 
for coining here to-night. It is more important 
than perhaps any one present can understand. I 
must leave you all now ; but I hope I shall see you 
again." He shook me kindly by the hand, bowed to 
the rest of the company, and was gone. We remained 
an hour longer, talking with Mrs. Lincoln and her 
friends, and then returned to Georgetown. Such was 
my first interview with Abraham Lincoln, and the 
memory of it is as clear and vivid as the evening on 
which it occurred.* 

* I looked up, and did not need to know 

by any one telling me who he was. Lincoln stood at the open 

He was looking down, yet seeing nothing. His eyes were 
turned inward. He was thinking of the great work and duty 
that lay upon his soul. I think I never saw so sad a face in my 
life, and I have looked into many a mourner's face. I have 
been among bereaved families, orphan children, widows and 
strong men whose hearts have been broken by the taking away 
of their own ; but I never saw the depth of sorrow that seemed 
to rest upon that gaunt, but expressive countenance. Yet there 
was a light in those deep-sunk eyes that showed the man who 
was before me as perhaps the best Christian the world ever saw, 
for he bore the world upon his heart. That man was bearing the 
country of his birth and love upon his naked soul. It was just 


one look ; but I never have forgotten it, and through the dim- 
ness of all these years that great and patient man looks down 
upon me to teach me how to bear, and how to do, how to hope, 
and how to give myself for my fellow-men. 

Lincoln was a noble representative of free institutions. He 
stood as the representative of that liberty which had been won 
by the swords of the Revolution, which had been organized by 
the earlier settlers of the Republic, and which has been adorned 
by many years of growth until the present day. The Revolu- 
tion had passed before Lincoln's day; but he was a typical 
representative of the freedom of heart, and soul, and life which 
ought to be the most priceless inheritance of every American 
citizen. I think this was evinced in his whole course and con- 
duct. He was surrounded by able men. 

The sword and the pen both had their heroes ; but before this 
man every one chose to pause, and his choice was always the 
wisest of all. I do not know what Lincoln would have done 
without support ; but, through all troubles, the individuality of 
that one man, his unflinching courage, his broad sympathy and 
charity, his homely common sense, his indomitable rectitude and 
unshaken faith ran like a pulse of fire, a thread of gold. 

You may speak of the arch of honor that spans those years 
of struggle. You may write the names of great generals, ad- 
mirals, statesmen, senators, and governors upon separate 
stones. But on that one stone which bound them together, with- 
out which the arch would have fallen into ruin and confusion, 
you must write Lincoln's name. 

I mention a third thing for which Lincoln was great. 
We have had great men who were as cold as the marble in 
which their statues have been cast. We have had men who 
had no more warm blood in their hearts than the bronze tablets 
upon their tombs. We have had great statesmen, great war- 
riors, great philosophers, great men of letters, all of them cold 


distinguished people, whose names I never knew ; but 
who were apparently earnest investigators, and seemed 
satisfied with the truths they obtained. In short, 
every moment was filled to the uttermost, and the time 
so occupied passed quickly and pleasantly. 

Prior to leaving Mr. Laurie's to become the guest 
of Mrs. Cosby I had another important interview with 
President Lincoln. One morning, early in February, 
we received a note from Mrs. Lincoln, saying she de- 
sired us to come over to Georgetown and bring some 
friends for a stance that evening, and wished the 
" young ladies" to be present. In the early part of 
the evening, before her arrival, my little messenger, 
or " familiar" spirit, controlled me, and declared that 
(the " long brave," as she denominated him) Mr. Lin- 
coln would also be there. As Mrs. Lincoln had made 
no mention of his coming in her letter, we were sur- 
prised at the statement. Mr. Laurie rather ques- 
tioned its accuracy ; as he said it would be hardly 
advisable for President Lincoln to leave the White 
House to attend a spiritual seance anywhere ; and 
that he did not consider it " good policy" to do so. 
However, when the bell rang, Mr. Laurie, in honor of 
his expected guests, went to the door to receive them 
in person. His astonishment was great to find 
Mr. Lincoln standing on the threshold, wrapped in 
his long cloak ; and to hear his cordial " Good even- 
ing," as he put out his hand and entered. Mr. Laurie 


promptly exclaimed, " Welcome, Mr. Lincoln, to my 
humble roof; you were expected" (Mr. Laurie was one 
of the " old-school gentlemen"). Mr. Lincoln stopped 
in the act of removing his cloak, and said, " Ex- 
pected ! Whi/, it is only jive minutes since I knew 
that I was coming.''^ He came down from a cabinet 
meeting as Mrs. Lincoln and her friends were about 
to enter the carriage, and asked them where they 
were going. She replied, " To Georgetown ; to a 
circle." He answered immediately, " Hold on a mo- 
ment; I will go with you." "Yes," said Mrs. Lin- 
coln, " and I was never so surprised in my life." He 
seemed pleased when Mr. Laurie explained the source 
of our information ; and I think it had a tendency to 
prepare his mind to receive what followed, and to 
obey the instructions given. 

On this occasion, as he entered the parlor, I made 
bold to say to him, " I would like to speak a word 
with you, Mr. Lincoln, before you go, after the circle." 
" Certainly," he said ; " remind me, should I forget it." 

Mr. and Mrs. Laurie, with their daughter, Mrs. Mil- 
ler, at his request, sang several fine old Scotch airs — 
among them, one that he declared a favorite, called 
" Bonnie Doon." I can see him now, as he sat in the 
old high-backed rocking-chair ; one leg thrown over 
the arm ; leaning back in utter weariness, with his 
eyes closed, listening to the low, strong, and clear yet 
plaintive notes, rendered as only the Scotch can sing 


their native melodies. I looked at his face, and it 
appeared tired and haggard. He seemed older by 
years than when I had seen him a few weeks pre- 
viously.* The whole party seemed anxious and trou- 

* My friend, Francis B. Carpenter, has given a correct 
picture of Lincoln : "In repose, it was the saddest face 
I ever knew. There were days when I could scarcely look 
into it without crying. During the first week of the battles 
of the Wilderness he scarcely slept at all. Passing through 
the main hall of the domestic apartment on one of these days, 
I met him, clad in a long morning- wrapper, pacing back and 
forth a narrow passage leading to one of the windows, his hands 
behind him, great black rings under his eyes, his head bent 
forward upon his breast — altogether such a picture of the effects 
of sorrow, care, and anxiety as would have melted the hearts 
of the worst of his adversaries, who so mistakenly applied to 
him the epithets of tyrant and usurper. With a sorrow almost 
divine, he, too, could have said of the rebellious States, ' How 
often would I have gathered you together, even as a hen gath- 
ereth her chickens under her wings, and ye tuould not !' Like 
another Jeremiah, he wept over the desolations of the nation ; 
'he mourned the slain of the daughter of his people.' 

" Surely, ruler never manifested so much sympathy, and ten- 
derness, and charity. How, like the last words of the Divine 
one himself, 'Father, forgive them, for they know not what 
they do,' will the closing sentences of his last inaugural address 
resound in solemn cadence through the coming centuries. 
Truly and well, says the London ' Spectator' of that address : 
' We cannot read it without a renewed conviction that it is the 
noblest political document known to history, and should have 
for the nation and the statesmen he left behind him something 
of a sacred and almost prophetic character. Surely, none was 

This curious book has no precedent in 
the EngUsh language. Its theme is novel, 
its truth apparent. It has a peculiar bear- 
ing upon the most momentous period in 
history, and regarding its most famous par- 
ticipant — the most noted American. It is 
based on truth and fact, and therefore will 
live from this time forth. The Publisher 
has not spared care, research or expense in 
its verification and production, and he stakes 
his reputation upon the validity of its con- 
tents, knowing that it will bear thorough 
examination regardless of Doctrine or Creed 
or Sect. It is a remarkable picture — a page 
of veiled history. Give it a deliberate read- 
ing. You will be amply repaid. 

The Publisher. 

12mo., Cloth, 16 Illus. $1.50. 

y/.AOOJ. 03V 03186